One hour before midnight and so some random ramblings before June is over.
The greatest enterprises of the world, those potent manifestations that transfigure and define an age, almost always start with wild men dreaming wild dreams. Or more precisely, such sweeping revolutions are unleashed by cursed and most fortunate men and women manifesting a consuming fire burning in their bones--a fire that consumes but does not destroy, a fire that does not cease flaming till it is born--violently or smoothly--upon the earth.
Till then, even the prophetic vessel, the pioneer and visionary, will not know whether the central vision of their lives is a mere hallucination, or truly a seed force yearning to burst forth into life and conquer. What was Christopher Columbus thinking in those last few days before his final deadline to turn back to Europe? Did his faith--the flaming force that was ultimately vindicated in those last days--still sing? The Wright brothers who dreamt of flight, Karl Marx who dreamt of utopia, Christ who gave his all for the kingdom of God--how much darkness did they have to face before they incarnated their light?
The greater and stranger the dream, the further it seems from the present reality of the world, the more suffering and loneliness for the pioneer. For who would understand his divine madness? Those not seized by this blessed curse would not understand the seemingly unrealistic, over-ambitious and essentially world-shattering energy that inspires the thoughts and wills of these men and women. Those fixated on the present will judge the divine madness with mistaken standards. Are these folks arrogant and megalomanical? They certainly sound so. Are they impractical dreamers and utterly unrealistic? Well, what else could they be? Why can't they be normal and do something real for a change?
So the trail-blazer learns to hide his flame--it burns, it works, but mainly in secret; for he knows that one day it will, it must, be manifested. His whole life hangs on that with an absolute concentration. Till the glory is born, he cannot rest, he cannot find his true self, he cannot find his true home. He cannot fail, for his whole life is essentially for that and that alone.
And the mark of the true prophet, as compared to those who are merely self-deluded, is precisely this consuming and total dedication that fundamentally never flags. The pioneer despairs, he sorrows, there are many times when his dream and work seem to be utter rubbish and nonsense--but these dark nights pass; he simply does not give up, indeed he cannot--the flame does not permit it. It is behind, within, above--consciously or unconsciously he sees it, he feels it, he knows it, and his deepest yearning is to bring it forward into his life and into the world. At some level, there is a belief, a seeing faith that what is true, is true; and he is here to incarnate that truth of his being.
It is not as if such people necessarily have a fantastic self-esteem, or they think so very highly of themselves that they fancy themselves able to change the world. That, really, is not the point. Indeed, probably one of the greatest sufferings of these trailblazers is that they see a vast and seemingly incurable chasm between their feeble abilities and beings, and the immensity of their destined task. It is at these moments that the voice of caution and 'prudence' will counsel a return to the normal grooves of mortal humanity: of wheeling in orbits small and 'realistic'. It is at these humiliating moments when one's utter weakness is shoved in one's face that one feels very much like giving up on one's flaming vision and perhaps life itself.
Yet true trailblazers recover--generally. If the vision is true, then the power to accomplish it must come. Till then, night alternates with day, and weakness and failures plague one's moves and test one's faith; but somehow, somehow, one trudges on. One day, somehow, somewhere, a definitive dawn will cleanly shatter the cage that binds--releasing joy unforgettable.